On a High Note: US Installs Over 200 Gigawatts of Clean Power Capacity in 2021
According to American Clean Power (ACP), the US has eclipsed 200 gigawatts (GW) of total operating utility-scale clean power capacity in 2021. Over the course of last year, the renewable energy sector installed 27.7 GW of utility-scale renewable power, representing $39 billion in investments across the sector. The biggest expansions were in wind and solar power: wind installed 12,747 megawatts (MW), and solar installed 12,364 MW.
There are now over 1,000 renewable energy projects under construction in the country, which will add more than 120,000 MW of new capacity. Renewables aren't just taking hold in the US; almost all of the new power generation capacity worldwide came from renewable energy.
But there is still more to be done. While 2021 was the second-highest year on record for renewable energy installations, it is only 45% of the renewable energy we need to meet the country's net-zero goals. And due to policy uncertainties that prevented projects from getting green-lit, the pace of installations in 2021 fell 3%.
Surpassing over 200 gigawatts of clean energy is a significant milestone for the United States and shows that we can achieve even more with strong public policy support for the industry. Although the US has reached this incredible achievement, more needs to be done, at a faster pace, to reach the climate goals and targets our country needs to achieve. We urge Congress to take action to create a clean energy future that will help create more good-paying American jobs and combat the climate crisis.
WW0: Heather Zichal and Amanda Little WW0 Facebook Live conversation broadcast, February 18, 2021.